China

China explosions: Tianjin puppy becomes blast symbol

The puppy rests at a temporary shelter set up by rescue workers near the blast site in Tianjin, China Image copyright WEIBO
Image caption The story of Shenghua the 'Tianjin blast puppy' has touched the hearts of thousands of Chinese netizens

From the horror of the warehouse blasts in China's port city of Tianjin comes a tale of survival that has bewitched Chinese social media users and become a symbol of hope amid the relentless flow of dark news and images.

More than 72 hours after explosions devastated parts of the city, search and rescue teams came across a mongrel puppy at the blast site.

It is not known where the puppy came from or if it had an owner. But Chinese soldiers who examined the dog said it was "miraculously unscathed".

It is not clear whether the dog survived the explosions or wandered into the area after the blasts, but the images provided a rare glimmer of good news for Chinese netizens.

"It's a miracle that the puppy managed to survive such horrific blasts. I hope it will find a good home," said Weibo user Zun Bao.

Another user shared the puppy's story on his micro-blogging account and said: "This is Shenghua [which translates to 'Biochemistry' in Chinese] - he was rescued by a chemical specialist team in Tianjin. The puppy wouldn't even leave its rescuers, such loyalty."

Image copyright WEIBO
Image caption 'Miraculously unscathed' - Rescue teams who found the puppy said it was in good health
Image copyright WEIBO
Image caption Chinese netizens also expressed hope that Shenghua would find a good and loving home

Shenghua's heart-warming rescue story attracted tens of thousands of comments and likes on Weibo, Facebook and Wechat.

"We have been reading so many stories of death and loss, especially our young firefighters. So I am glad to hear how a tiny puppy has become a story of strength and kindness in China today," said Weibo user Yang Yi Chang.

"This is more than just any old animal story - Reading it among all the doom and gloom of Tianjin [coverage] literally lifted my spirits," remarked another.

Other users agreed and some even began expressing their hopes that Shenghua would find a new home.

Shenghua is still with rescue workers at the blast site.

Image copyright WEIBO
Image caption The curious and playful puppy also seemed to have provided some furry relief for soldiers at the blast site
Image copyright WEIBO
Image caption Some Chinese sites also said the puppy refused to leave its rescuers after it was found at the blast site